Posted by: travelrat | April 29, 2012

The Big Train Ride

In Europe, an InterCity train is often a practicable alternative to flying. Users of the Eurostar service often boast than, in the time it takes to check in at one of the London airports, they can be halfway to Paris.

That’s not the case in Australia. You don’t take a long-distance train because it’s cheaper, or you’re in a hurry. I once described it as a rail-borne coach tour … but, of course, it’s far more comfortable than a coach, and the food is much better.

I’ll be posting more about the Ghan later but, briefly, we had a four-hour stop at Katherine, where we went on a Gorge Cruise, and saw crocodiles.

At the ‘Welcome Reception’ after dinner, they told us that if, through the night, the train felt like it wasn’t moving … it wasn’t!  At about 2 a.m., it would stop at Tennant Creek for some hours. Now, I don’t have any first-hand experience of Tennant Creek, but I’m told it’s not the sort of place you would take Mum for a Mothers’ Day treat. However, we’re not getting off; the only reason the train stops there is so that passengers see as much of the country as possible by daylight, and to ensure that the train doesn’t arrive at Alice Springs at O God o’ clock in the morning.

Once more, apologies for the poor quality picture. I promise I’ll post better when I get home.


  1. Hi Keith,
    Staying on the train at Tennant Creek, seems like a very good idea. 🙂
    Sounds like the food is nice on the train, that is really good, you just never know what to expect sometimes.
    Looking forward to some more posts. 😀

    • The food and the service in the restaurant car are absolutely faultless!

      I wish there still were restaurant cars on British trains; they used to be pretty good, although the rail system itself was a little bit this side of perfect!

      (Mind you, I have rather a soft spot for them … I think a dining car waiter was the first person ever to call me ‘Sir’ :))

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